Lao You Ju | Chinatown | Asian, Chinese, Bar/Lounge | Restaurant
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Kooky but fun restaurant and lounge from Tony Hu.

Our Review

There's plenty of novelty on the menu at Hu's fourth restaurant, in the Chinatown Mall, where he's forgone the regional approach he took with Lao Sze Chuan, Lao Beijing, and Lao Shanghai. Instead, he's created a Weird World of Hu. He's a gregarious, hands-on owner in all of his spots. But when you see him here it's unlike you've seen him anywhere else, holding court at the bar, swirling a glass of red wine, and yukking it up with his pals. He still chats up the tables, offering reminders that there's late-night karaoke on the weekends or assurances that despite all the glitz this isn't an expensive restaurant. And it isn't. It's also not strictly the small-plates joint it's hyped as. There are plenty of straightforward family-size regional dishes like sizzling, incendiary Lamb With Cumin, sweet-and-spicy fried Three-Chili Fish, and Numbing Spicy Fish Chongqing Style, laden with pickled cabbage. And there are plenty of Chinese standards: pot stickers, egg drop soup, and fried rice are all present. But the real sport here is gambling on some of the peacocky dishes. Cartilaginous "Extremely Spicy" duck tongue tossed with fat-absorbing crinkle-cut fries spills dramatically out of a crunchy battered nest that looks like Mushmouth's hat. Stir-fried Tofu With Duck Eggs, a thick, yolky bowl brightened with a heavy dose of frozen peas and diced carrots sounds horrible and looks inedible, but it was the richest, most comforting thing I could have draped over a pile of rice on that frozen night. The now-infamous World No. 1 Bone is a long pork shank section standing a pool of starchy abalone sauce with a straw sticking out of the top. I'm generally pro marrow, but this dish taught me something: when I grow up, I don't want to be a liposuction machine. Read the full review >>

Mike Sula

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Price: $$$
Payment Type: MasterCard, Visa

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